Don't be surprised if, over the next few weeks, you are asked to "Live United."
As Lycoming County United Way gears up for another campaign it has another goal in mind: Advocacy.
Lycoming County United Way understands it may be hard to give to a cause when wallets already are stretched thin, but if you knew that the community's homeless count is steadily on the rise and a portion of United Way dollars helps get these people back on their feet, would you be willing to help your neighbors?
"It is important to point out that meeting needs, not setting goals, is what we are about," said Virgil Probasco, campaign chairman. "What we must try to do is provide funding necessary to meet the human service needs of the community.
"Even though last year's campaign was the best we've ever achieved, raising a record $1,551,967, it was still $171,344 short of the needs of the human service programs we fund to meet the growing requests for help they are receiving."
According to Probasco, when the United Way established this year's need, it added the shortfall to what was raised last year.
"This equates to a need/goal of $1,723,311 as our target for the fall campaign," he said.
Although meeting those needs is a continuing challenge, your money will help first-time teenage mothers such as Shannon learn to care for her baby while planning for a future with the help of the staff at Susquehanna Health's Nurse Family Partnership.
A single father of two young children will be able to drop his kids off at the YMCA's child care facility at a low cost so that he can continue to work to provide for his kids.
A battered woman will find shelter at the YWCA's Liberty House or receive guidance through Wise Options because of your dollars, and Rudy, who lost most of his vision following a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy in 2002, now has found employment, transportation, and Life Skills and Education through North Central Sight Services because you have chosen to help meet the needs of the community by giving to Lycoming County United Way.
In the following weeks, a series of Face Stories will showcase first-person accounts of those who have been helped by one of the 38 programs funded by Lycoming County United Way.
LCUW works with 23 agencies in an effort to address the highest concerns facing the residents of Lycoming County.
The funded programs are intended to direct support to areas identified by Lycoming County United Way's 2012 Community Needs Assessment, which ranks homelessness; substance abuse; child abuse and neglect; domestic abuse; and teenage pregnancy as issues of high priority in the area.
"We are grateful for the service provided by the Lycoming College Polling Institute in conducting our Community Needs Assessment surveys every three years," said Scott N. Lowery, LCUW executive director. "Led by Jonathan Williamson, the research they provide has been extremely helpful to our annual funds distribution process in helping to guide funding to identified needs areas in the county.
"We conducted our first survey in 2006 and the information we have gained has helped us transition to the current Impact Funding model we are now using. These procedures have increased the effectiveness of the process and heightened the accountability of those programs receiving funding."
As we begin our campaign with your assistance, we urge you to think about your family, friends, and neighbors who may be facing hardships.
You may even learn a little more about their situation through one of our upcoming Face Stories. Consider helping those individuals and others like them through Lycoming County United Way.
They may not be able to thank you personally, but the community will be a better place because of you. Live United.